Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Skyfall (Troll Hunters book 1) by Michael Dahl

I would plop this book between Secrets of Droon and Beast Quest in reading level for fantasy lovers out there. While easier than Beast Quest or Spiderwick Chronicles, it still has some high vocabulary words (cryptozoology for one) and a lot of characters to keep track of for young readers. Pablo, Zac, and Thora, are watching a meteor storm over a quarry when strange things start to happen. Actually strange things happen on the way to the quarry but the chapters bounce around like scenes in a movie. I did get confused a few times and I missed the detail that Zac's parents disappeared. I didn't really get that chapter and what was happening. Anyway the four stumble upon trolls and are helped by a centaur who transforms into a man with three arms. Again, I couldn't figure that one out either but it is suggested at the end he'll be explained in later books. They stumble upon Louise in the forest who's house is burning. She's seven and says, "the big bad wolf" burned it down. The four have to figure out a way to not get eaten by trolls who are chasing them.

There is plenty of action but the plot is confusing and clumsy. I think the author tries to do to much. Fantasy stories can be complicated when building a world and I think if he'd cut out a few characters and parents, it might have been a smoother read. I was also confused on some of the dialogue such as when Thora and Pablo are hanging from the rope and Pablo yells help. It made me think the troll was grabbing Pablo's legs but the troll was actually grabbing Thora's legs. Then as they are running away it seems that Pablo is behind Thora and I thought the trolls would have grabbed him but then it seems that Thora is the sole person they are chasing. As you can see - I was confused in spots. Also, the word "quarry" is mentioned a bundle of times but never explained. I thought it should have been explained to help the young reader visualize the scenes and tower. I like how the author sets the trolls in a setting involving a quarry and how they are defeated at the end. In Norway, a certain rock or mountain might be a troll and a parent and child will look at the shapes and tell troll myths (according to Troll with No Heart - see my review).  If you just want action and don't care about plot then its a fun read.

Reading Level 3.2
2 out of 5 Smileys

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